The police in North Vancouver, B.C., are advising filmmakers to obtain the necessary permits following an incident where officers were called to a scene of armed individuals, only to discover it was actually a non-professional film production on Saturday.
According to RCMP Const. Mansoor Sahak, a security guard contacted the police at approximately 5:30 p.m. PT to inform them about a group of individuals in body armor and armed with rifles in an underground parkade near the 1800-block of Marine Drive.
Sahak stated that following a brief encounter with the police in the bustling shopping district, it was promptly discovered that the weapons were replicas being employed for shooting a low-budget film in the parking area.
Sahak stated to CBC News on Monday that after realizing it was not a genuine threat, they promptly adapted their response. However, if they had been aware that it was a movie set, their response would have been completely different.
He mentioned that the reported threat was so significant that almost all on-duty officers in North Vancouver were summoned to the scene.
“We don’t know the backstory of what’s going on, and what’s happening,” said Sahak. “We have to treat every scenario as if it’s a real situation, a real threat to the public. And so that’s how our officers responded.”
Sahak refused to provide the precise count of individuals holding replica firearms, as well as the number of officers who reacted.
The RCMP stated that after conducting an investigation, it was discovered that the group did not have the required permits from the provincial or city authorities to film in a public area. Additionally, there was no signage indicating to residents, businesses, or the police about the nature of the filming activities.
Sahak reported that the RCMP had a conversation with the men regarding the necessary permits and issued them a warning instead of taking further action.
He mentioned that it serves as a cautionary message to the general population. If one intends to film a movie scene using authentic props such as imitation firearms and replicas, it is essential to adhere to the correct protocols.
According to the website of the government of British Columbia, productions looking to film in the province need permits issued either by the province or the municipality.
According to the city’s website, in North Vancouver, individuals are required to submit an application form to the city at least five days prior to the commencement of filming.
Gerry Freeman, the supervisor in charge of filming locations, emphasizes the importance of obtaining permits to avoid any potential incidents, especially when weapons are present.
Freeman informed CBC News that obtaining a film permit involves a series of steps to ensure the safety of the general public, all individuals involved, and specifically enhances the safety of actors.
Freeman stated that a skilled armor specialist must be present on the set, the audience should be informed, and whenever weapons are involved, production should cover the expenses of having a police officer on set.
According to him, unauthorized film productions that do not comply with regulations are endangering themselves, as there have been instances where individuals brandishing fake or imitation weapons have been fatally shot by the police.
Freeman expressed concern that they are prioritizing saving money over ensuring safety and informing the public.
There are individuals who are willing to undertake such risks solely for the purpose of making a movie. However, the potential outcomes do not justify their actions.
Sahak mentioned that the RCMP were glad that there was no danger and that everyone was secure. However, Sahak also mentioned that such incidents divert resources from genuine emergencies.
“He stated that whenever a call of that nature occurs, with men dressed in tactical attire and armed with rifles, it becomes a frightening scenario for the officers. This is because they are aware that it is an unusual type of call to receive in the typically peaceful North Vancouver.”
Therefore, it poses a significant risk for all parties involved.